This year, the cars are truly the stars at the 2019 Cleveland Auto Show, presented by Huntington Bank. 

When the show’s doors open at 5 p.m . Feb. 22 at the I-X Center in Cleveland, you’ll be able to see more specialty and celebrity vehicles than ever before – as well as more than 850 production and pre-production vehicles on the show floor. You’ll also have plenty of time to peruse those vehicles, with the show closing its doors at 8 p.m. March 3. That gives you 10 days to either shop for a vehicle or just go have some good old-fashioned fun.

This time of year is always special for people who are fans of anything on four wheels. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, the new models are all ready for your inspection. And comparison has never been easier than at the 2019 Cleveland Auto Show. As an automotive dealer, it’s exciting too. The Cleveland Auto Show always kicks off the spring selling season in Northern Ohio.

The Cleveland Auto Show continues to attract many automotive brands, including a bumper cop of upscale brands this year, such as Acura, Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Land Rover/Jaguar and Mercedes. 

The Cleveland Auto Show is also great way to get the family out for some fun as you shop for a vehicle. The crop of celebrity and specialty vehicles at this year’s Cleveland Auto Show is nothing short of awesome. Millionaire’s Row is back with its vehicles worth six and seven figures. New this year, you’ll also be able to see vehicles that have starred on television and in the movies.

We’re inviting back the Optimus Prime Truck from “Transformers: Last Knight” that was at last year’s show. We’re also expanding the number of celebrity vehicles this year to include: Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine Van; the “Shaggin’ Wagon” from the 1994 film, “Dumb and Dumber”; the DeLorean Time Machine from “Back to the Future” and Dom’s 1970 Dodge Charger Off-Road from “Fast and Furious.” Remember the Lego Batmobile from the Cleveland Auto Show two years ago? This year, Chevrolet is bringing a full-sized Lego Silverado, 20-feet long and made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks. 

It’s a great lineup, but the new production and pre-production vehicles on the show floor are stars in their own right. The technology inside and out is truly amazing. So, if you are seriously shopping for a vehicle, please don’t be afraid to ask questions of the product specialists in the displays. They are there to answer your questions, not to sell you a vehicle.

If you see something you like, you just might be able to take it out on the road at one of our outdoor Ride-N-Drives, where you’ll be able to ride in vehicles from 12 different brands, including: Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Ram, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen. Joining the fold and new this year, Nissan also will make its vehicles available for test drives at the show.

If you’re really interested in something, don’t forget to stop out to your local franchised new vehicle dealer after the show. They can take you on a more detailed test drive, and also explain the many finance options and special deals that are always offered during the Cleveland Auto Show.

While you’re at this year’s show, don’t forget to register to win a 36-month lease of one of two vehicles. This year, the 2019 Cleveland Auto Show and the Northern Ohio Honda Dealers will give away two, 36-month leases for either a 2019 Honda Accord or 2019 Honda Ridgeline to two lucky grand prize winners on March 3, the last day of the show.

To be eligible to win, all you have to do is register at the official vehicle giveaway booth during any day of the Cleveland Auto Show. Check out clevelandautoshow.com for mail-in information and official contest rules. Each day of the show, one finalist will be chosen and invited back on March 3. Out of the 10 finalists invited back, two grand prize winners will be selected. 

If you’re not in the market for a new vehicle, the Cleveland Auto Show still always offers plenty to see and do for the whole family. At Camp Jeep, you’ll ride along as professional drivers put Jeeps through obstacles that include the 12-foot tall Jeep Mountain. The Ram Truck Indoor Test Track will show you how much the brand’s trucks are capable of doing. There are plenty of celebrity visits throughout the show’s 10-day run as well. You can see a complete and updated list on our website mentioned above.

If you want to get the family’s opinion on a new vehicle, head out to the show on Feb. 25. It’s family day, sponsored by Medical Mutual, when children 15 and under get in free. Feb. 28 is Heroes Day, when the Cleveland Auto Show honors America’s warriors, veterans and first responders with free admission. Once again, the website has more details.

Tickets also are available when you visit the website. You can get show details there, such as hours and updates on celebrity appearances. Admission for adults is $14, while seniors and pre-teens 6 to 12 get in for $12. Children under 6 are free. Parking is always free courtesy of your franchised new vehicle dealers.

If you love cars, the Cleveland Auto Show is your chance to see virtually everything the automotive world has to offer under one roof. If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, it’s a must-see event. 

I hope to see you there.

David Waikem is chairman of the 2019 Cleveland Auto Show and vice president and co-owner of the Waikem Auto Family Dealerships of Massillon.

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